New principal for Lakeridge one of two new school hires

The new principal at Lakeridge Elementary is one of two people who will join the Mercer Island School District in the coming months. The second is a new executive assistant for MISD Superintendent Gary Plano.

Fred Rundle will join Lakeridge Elementary as the principal beginning on July 1. There were 28 applicants considered for the position, according to the district.

“We’re very happy. I think we made a wonderful choice,” said Plano.

Rundle is currently the principal of Saddle Ranch Elementary in Highlands Ranch, Colo., located just outside of Littleton, Colo. He joined the Douglas County School District in Colorado in 2001, where he has worked as a teacher, assistant principal and principal. He has been the principal for the last three years.

“I was just elated,” said Rundle of being offered the job. “I can’t wait to get back to the Northwest.”

Rundle, who grew up in Colorado and graduated from the University of Puget Sound, said that MISD is similar to the district he grew up in, adding a draw to his return.

“This move is about this draw my wife and I have. It’s this pull we both have to the area,” he said.

Rundle has taught at both the high school and elementary level; teaching fourth, fifth and sixth grades before moving into an administrative position.

“I am thrilled to have Fred Rundle join my outstanding team as the next Lakeridge principal. We are privileged to work alongside this exemplary educator,” said Plano.

Current principal Ralph Allen is leaving the district after seven years as Lakeridge principal. He has spent more than 40 years working in education.

“I’m leaving because it’s time,” he said. “I’m excited that it sounds like the people on the interview team feel like they got a great person. It’s a great school, and it deserves a strong, competent person.”

Jan LaFountaine will be joining the administrative staff as Plano’s executive assistant. She spent the last 25 years working in the Renton School District.

“I’m excited,” she said. “I’ve worked in the Renton School District my entire career, so this is a chance to learn a new district. It’s going to be a challenge, but I’m looking forward to it. It will be fun to get to know the community.”

LaFountaine’s first day will be March 23. She replaces Debbie Southards, the long-time executive assistant who resigned in December, and Marion Mohler, who served as an interim replacement.

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